Trump’s Team Seizes Control of RNC, Initiates Sweeping Layoffs

In a bold move that has reshaped the landscape of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Donald J. Trump’s inner circle has initiated a sweeping overhaul, resulting in the dismissal or forced resignation of over 60 officials, including key senior staff members. This strategic shake-up, orchestrated just months before the pivotal November election, signifies a profound transformation within the party’s structure, as revealed by two individuals with intimate knowledge of the proceedings.

The magnitude of these changes has effectively hollowed out the party’s operational core, with estimates suggesting that the RNC’s workforce, which stood at approximately 200 at February’s end, has been dramatically reduced. Among those affected are the leaders of the communications, data, and political departments, highlighting the depth of the purge.

In a unanimous decision, Michael Whatley, a staunch Trump ally, alongside Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law, ascended to the positions of committee chair and co-chair, respectively. This leadership transition, fervently endorsed by Mr. Trump, follows his successful ousting of Ronna McDaniel, who had helmed the committee since 2017. Chris LaCivita, a key strategist within Trump’s campaign echelon, has been appointed as the chief operating officer, signaling a new era of leadership and strategic direction at the party’s headquarters.

This sweeping reorganization first came to light through Politico, underscoring the ongoing transformation within the RNC under Trump’s influence. The relocation of the party’s finance and digital teams to Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump’s campaign operations are based, further illustrates the merging of party and personal campaign mechanisms into a singular operational entity.

Staff members facing the prospect of reapplication were directed to a generic email address to express their continued interest, a move outlined in a hastily composed email by Sean Cairncross, a returning RNC official. This directive underscores the urgency and the sweeping nature of the restructuring efforts.

The RNC’s overhaul is a testament to Donald Trump’s tightening grip on the Republican Party’s machinery, a development that has not only reshaped its leadership but also its strategic outlook. Mike Reed, the former chief of staff under McDaniel, stepped down in February, marking another significant departure in the wake of these changes.

Chris LaCivita has hinted at further transformations within the RNC, indicating a departure from its current state to embrace new strategies and directions. However, concerns have been raised about the potential use of committee funds for Trump’s legal expenses, a move that, while controversial, has been suggested to enjoy popular support among Republican voters.

Nikki Haley’s recent withdrawal from the Republican primary race and her vocal criticisms of Trump’s dominance over the party underscore the contentious nature of these developments. Her concerns about the misuse of national committee resources for personal legal battles highlight the deep divisions and challenges within the party.

Charlie Kirk, leader of the pro-Trump youth organization Turning Point USA, has lauded the staff reductions as a necessary purge of opposition within the RNC, framing it as a preparatory step towards electoral success.

This series of strategic moves and leadership changes within the RNC not only reflects the ongoing influence of Donald Trump over the party but also sets the stage for a redefined approach to the upcoming electoral challenges.